5 REAL Facts On Chicken Farming

Bring up the topic of commercial chicken farming and you've typically triggered World War 3. Someone's seen a doc, read a study or seen a video (on Facebook no doubt). Conjecture, marketing jargon, and urban myths dominate the debate. Pardon me for stating the obvious (I'm trying to prevent a slew of emails from nut jobs) but I HAVE NOT visited every commercial chicken plant across this country. I do however know the laws regarding chicken farming - this is not to say all farmers follow them. Here's 5 facts that will add more flavour to your next poultry pound down;

1.   FREE RANGE & FREE FUN - The term "free range" has not been legally defined within the US and Canada. ALL chickens used for consumption in Canada are however "free-run". That means they are required, by law, to be able to move freely within a barn or other space. Due to weather restrictions this does not always facilitate outdoors spaces.

2.   ANTIBIOTICS - Chickens are almost always raised without use of antibiotics. Antibiotics are only ever used when it is believed a flock may be in danger of infection. They ARE NOT used as standard growth practice in Canada. This is strictly monitored within the industry. 

3.   HORMONES & STEROIDS - ALL chickens in Canada are raised WITHOUT use of hormones and steroids. Use of hormones and steroids has been banned in chicken farming in Canada since the 1960s. This term is nothing more than a marketing ploy as it states common practice.

4.   GRAIN FED - All chickens are fed with feed consisting of over 88% grain. As chickens are omnivores they can survive comfortably on vegetable feed alone. Again, the term "grain fed" is used largely as a marketing tactic. 

5.   ORGANICS - Regulations surrounding use of the term "organic chicken" differ across the country, but essentially it means their feed is organic. It is typically NOT a designation of living standards or conditions.

For the record I have no relationship, financial or otherwise, with any chicken farming board or growers group. This was written and researched entirely of my own accord. For what it's worth I also prefer brown meat over white... sayin'. Cheers.